Bharat Bandh on March 28, 29: Banking, transport & other services likely to be hit

A joint forum of central trade unions, supported by the All India Bank Employees Association, has called for a nationwide strike on March 28 and 29 against the Central government’s policies affecting workers, farmers, and people in general.

The decision comes following a meeting on March 22 where the trade unions said that they would protest against the Centre’s “anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies”. The bank unions are participating to protest against the government’s plan to privatise public sector banks, as well as the Banking Laws Amendment Bill 2021.

A statement by the trade unions informed that roadways, transport workers and electricity workers have also decided to join the strike. The unions in the railways and defence sector would be making mass mobilization in support of the strike at several hundreds of spots, the statement added.  Workers from various other sectors such as coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, and insurance are expected to participate in the strike.

The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has said that banking services may get affected due to the strike. “We advise that while the bank has made necessary arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices on the days of strike, it is likely that work in our bank may be impacted to a limited extent, by the strike,” SBI said in a regulatory filing.

The nationwide strike will, however, have limited impact in West Bengal as the government issued an order saying all offices were to remain open and the employees would have to mandatorily report to duty. “In view of calls given by different trade unions for a 48-hour nationwide strike/bandh on March 28 and 29, all state government offices will remain open and employees shall report for duty on those days. Leaves to be treated as ‘dies-non’ and no salary will be admissible,” the order read.